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Ruby Hill Winery
April 23, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

How to Bee Kind this Earth Month

In recognition of Earth Day, we wanted to take some time to recognize the underappreciated labor of our hardworking pollinator friends. This week, we’re looking into the work done by pollinating insects and animals, helping to keep our planet beautiful, upholding ecosystems, and producing natural resources. Grapevines, our favorite crop, are what is called a self-pollinating plant—they need only wind to fertilize and reproduce. If our vines don’t need the help of bees or other pollinators, why is the health of these creatures so important to us? 

The short answer is simply that the beauty and fertility of our estate as a whole, depends on fruitful pollination. In order for our soil to have all of the nutrients it needs for luscious vines (which make luscious wines) we need a rich collection of other plants in and around our vineyards. Our estate boasts flowers, shrubs, and trees of many kinds, including regal rose bushes, fragrant rosemary, and citrus and pepper trees, all of which provide food for bees. Additionally, the grasses and flowering clumps that the bees nourish on the estate provide a home for predatory insects which do the noble work of preying on insects and parasites that would otherwise prey on the grapevines. Some bees also boost pollen yields and fruitfulness in grapevines by removing the pollen-containing caps of grapevine flowers. When bees and other pollinators are able to function at their best, so is our estate! 

Plan Bee: How to Help Boost Pollinator Health in Your Backyard

Prioritize your garden – Home gardens do attract pollinators! In fact, some research has shown that urban and suburban gardens have more pollinator diversity than nearby wildlands. 

Go for a colorful landscape – Choosing a spectrum of colors is beautiful and helps expand the flowering season. 

Use native plants in home gardening – By choosing native plants you’ll attract and support a range of busy bees and meet the needs of native wildlife. 

Tolerate a little mess – It’s okay to leave dead snags, some leaf litter, and even some bare patches. Helpful ground nesting insects will thank you! A few weeds also provide food for pollinators

Support Farmers and Beekeepers – purchase local honey and locally produced organic foods. Farmers Market, here we come!

Though self-pollinating crops are more self-sustaining, at least 80% of the world’s crop species require pollination to live. It’s estimated that at least one out of every three bites of food (in addition to ½ of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials) was made possible by the direct work of a pollinator. In the US alone, honeybees are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars of agricultural productivity. We need pollinators, and they might just need us to give them a hand.


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